The British Press who, after the Premier's last trip to Moscow, or rather
after this seeking-out of the Russian war-lord (just as Chamberlain had
sought Hitler at the time of Munich), had indignantly written that these
journeys must cease as being c damaging to British prestige/ now had
nothing to say.
At Teheran Stalin had already shown the brilliancy of his technique
in dealing with his * friends * in the Alliance, the representatives of the
Capitalist world. It could be assumed now, that a second meeting would
be agreed on only when the Russian Dictator considered the moment
was ripe to strike a knock-out blow.
Stalin was to decide on the time and place. la 1943, ^Q ^&& conceded
to the point of going to meet the leaders of the Democracies at Teheran.,
(still guarded by the troops of the N.K.V.D.), now, he unceremoniously
appointed Russian territory as a meeting place — the Crimea., and the
Tsarist palace at Yalta. The implications seemed all too obvious.
Roosevelt, nearly at the end of his career (he was to die a few weeks
later), and despite his physical handicap, undertook the long journey
to Russia. Like Churchill he was anxious to face Stalin. It seemed a
feeling of great uneasiness urged him to meet the Dictator once more, —
to remind him of those mutual covenants made together at Teheran
" to cleanse the world of ancient evils, ancient ills." Victory was approach-
ing with gigantic paces, but it did not appear to be a victory which would
reward the " champions of tolerance and decency and freedom and faith "
as he had anticipated. For in spite of the approaching end of hostilities
the world of tyranny, cruelty and serfdom was not growing smaller. . <, .
Roosevelt was to witness his plan for a world settlement which should
have crowned this victory, being stamped into the ground beneath the
boots of the Red Army in their march across Europe. And he had gambled
everything on this throw. He was forced to realise that the faith which
had enabled him believe that ultimately the ideological differences between
Soviet and Western civilisation, if not disappearing altogether, would
at least allow the people under both systems to live and work side by side,
had no foundation . . . the events which had taken place in every country
occupied by Stalin's armies were proof enough in themselves.
Roosevelt's support of Stalin had tipped the scales against Churchill
at Teheran. Now the American leader was to realise the magnitude of the
disaster he had unwittingly helped to bring about. He had backed the
Russian Dictator wholeheartedly, convinced that, in spite of all evidence
to the contrary, Russia could be won over to world co-operation, to work
with the democracy, the virtues of which the American leader had preached
so eloquently for so many years. He was to find all his hopes falling
around his ears as the three-horse spanned Russian troika of Gogola's
vision, raced across Europe trampling over the Germans, their satellites